Indianapolis, Ind., April 16, 2018 — The Addiction Policy Forum (APF) announced today the launch of its Indiana chapter, led by state chair Andréa Grace Phillips (Evansville) and Justin Phillips (Indianapolis.) The chapter will focus on helping families in crisis and expanding prevention, treatment and recovery across the Hoosier state.
More than 21 million Americans are suffering from addiction. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 174 lives were lost daily to drug overdose in 2016—the equivalent of a plane crash every day. Indiana has been hit hard by this epidemic. In 2016, the state saw more than 1,500 deaths from drug overdoses, and opioids accounted for 52 percent of those fatalities.
“Governor Eric Holcomb, state leaders and families in Indiana have done a tremendous amount of work to address addiction in communities throughout the state, and we applaud their efforts,” said Jessica Hulsey Nickel, president and chief executive officer of the Addiction Policy Forum. “Earlier this year, we learned that 63,600 people died of a drug overdose nationwide in 2016, and Indiana saw a 23-percent increase in overdose deaths from 2015 to 2016. It is clear more services, treatment and support are needed to help those struggling with substance use disorder. We look forward to working with a broad group of stakeholders to stem the tide of addiction in Indiana.”
APF understands the need to provide families throughout the country with better resources as well as to help communities develop and implement targeted solutions to address the impact of substance use disorder. The Indiana chapter will work on education, prevention, treatment, recovery, overdose reversal and criminal justice issues to ensure the full spectrum of solutions is being deployed. The chapter will engage a wide range of stakeholders to create specific action plans, initiate new collaborations and deploy additional localized resources for the direct benefit of all Hoosiers.
These efforts will be co-led by APF’s Indiana state chair, Andréa Grace Phillips, who resides in Evansville. She lost her son Roman to substance use disorder in 2017 and has since become involved in advocacy efforts both locally and nationally to raise awareness and stop the stigma of addiction by sharing her story. Andréa is a life coach, has started several family support groups in Evansville and is an active member of the Mayor’s Substance Abuse Task Force.
“I am excited to lead efforts in Indiana to help bring together people concerned about substance use disorder and provide them with the resources they need to get help,” says Andréa. “With education and outreach efforts, we can help to eliminate stigma about substance use disorder and save more lives in Indiana.”
Justin Phillips, a lifelong resident of Indianapolis and the Founder and Executive Director of the Overdose Lifeline, Inc., will co-lead the state chapter along with Andréa. Justin founded Overdose Lifeline, Inc. to serve the state of Indiana in helping to prevent opioid deaths and reduce the stigma of addiction. Justin formed ODL in 2015 after the death of her 20-year-old son, Aaron, to a heroin overdose.
"Working towards legislative and community change to fight addiction has been a long-standing priority of mine, and I'm excited to expand my work even further by co-leading the Addiction Policy Forum Indiana State Chapter," says Justin. "I look forward to working with other team members to affect positive change in the state of Indiana and its communities."